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Borneo

Borneo, in Southeast Asia, is a beautiful country with unique wildlife. It is home to the illusive orangutan, proboscis monkey, Bornean clouded leopard and many other endangered species. It is a wonderful destination for more adventurous travelers, but also accessible from modern luxurious beach resorts at Kota Kinabalu for people who prefer to be pampered.

Unfortunately this beautiful place is being rapidly destroyed as the rain forests are plundered for their valuable wood and replaced with palm oils plantations. Many of the orangutans have nowhere to live and orphans and injured orangutans are looked after and trained for reintroduction into the wild at the wonderful Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

tukan.jpgGo there while the rain forests are still there.Borneo is a fairly large island, a bit larger than France, surrounded by the indonesian archipelago, Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia. It is actually divided into four regions, two of which, in the north (Sarawak and Sabah) are governed by Malaysia, Brunei, a small independent sultanate completely enclosed by Sarawak, and in the south, the largest region is the Indonesian provinces of Kalimantan (East, South, West and Central Kalimantan). It is a truly magical yet tragic place, with incredible beauty and unique wildlife rapidly being destroyed by logging and palm-oil production.    prales-1.jpg

 

Divided into unequal parts by Malaysa, Indonesia and Brunei, the immense island of Borneo is the third largest in the world, and is most famous for the opportunity to meets its orang utan population in the forests and to explore its extensive cave network underground.

Highlights include the glorious Clearwater Cave boasting one of the longest underground rivers, and Deer Park, with no deer at all, but over three million bats and a claim to being the world's biggest cave passage. Curiously, one of the major attractions is the bat guano formations, which reach 100 metres in height.

If you don't want to fly across the world to marvel at bat poo, perhaps you'd prefer to dive or snorkel in one of the seas surrounding the island, which include the South China Sea, the Java Sea and the Celebes Sea. Alternatively, explore the ancient, verdant rainforests, hike up Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo's highest point.

In Sabah you'll also find rainforests where Proboscis Monkeys roam, and the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary where you can learn more about the island's saffron-haired primates.

Pulau Tiga Park and Sipadan offer opportunities for diving and snorkelling, while the helpfully named Turtle Island Park, 40km from Sabah's east coast, is comprised of three island, Pulau Bakkungan Kecil, Pulau Gulisan, Pulau Selingaan and the Sulu Sea surrounding them, where you can see green turtles, and hawksbills turtles, and enjoy the tranquillity of this nature reserve. You can even stay overnight on Selingaan, providing you don't approach the shore after nightfall and risk disturbing the turtles.

There are, of course, cities and towns as well, including beautiful Kuching set on either side of the Sarawak River with museums, temples and bazaars, but the star attractions of Borneo will always be the wildlife.

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